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After electric games from star Irving, the Nets lord it over the Knicks--but are still sorting things out

The Brooklyn Nets, as we know, won free agency by signing stars Kyrie Irving and (the rehabbing) Kevin Durant.

And though they've lost two (overtime) games out of three--signaling team flaws and some lousy luck--they won the first battle against the New York Knicks in an uneven game Friday night featuring Irving's last-minute heroics.

Thus they won the tabloid's back pages (New York Post right, New York Daily News, below left) if, as the Daily News's Stefan Bondy suggested, The Knicks will still win the popularity contest, citing fan energy in the Barclays Center, at least during the Knicks' run at the end of the game.

That, of course, could change, since the Nets do have better personnel and thus better, crueler chants, such as “we got KD and Kyrie. You got Dolan," a reference to the Knicks' mercurial, interfering, short-term-thinking owner James Dolan.

But it was a big, big game, and the sign of future momentum once Durant comes back.
Star performances

Even before playing the Knicks, they'd won the tabloid back pages.
After Irving scored 50 points in a last-minute loss in the season opener, the Ringer's Dan Devine wrote 10/24/19, The Kyrie Irving Experience Has Come to Brooklyn, contrasting the new point guard with his predecessor:
D’Angelo Russell is a gifted pick-and-roll playmaker with a smooth game who can score in bunches, make flashy passes, and drop ice-cold daggers. Kyrie Irving, though, is An Experience—a sui generis stylist whose game, when it’s all working, is one of the most purely satisfying and jaw-droppingly fun aesthetic adventures the NBA has to offer. It was all working in Wednesday’s season opener against the Timberwolves.
The Nets step out of the shadow

They've sold out their first two home games and have re-established their identity.

That comes with some business decisions. One fan lamented that the cost of tickets was approaching that of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. I'm not sure about that, but seats aren't cheap any more. As of now, upper-level seats for tomorrow's home game against the Indiana Pacers start at $59 (via the Nets' web site) or $30.15 (via StubHub).

Indeed, the Post's Mike Vaccaro, in a 10/22/19 preview headlined It’s the Nets’ time in a Knicks-mad town, suggested:
Because from this day forward, the Nets really should be viewed as their own entity, their own brand, saddled with their own expectations, beholden to their own fans. Always, in the background, the Nets have been viewed — fairly and unfairly, consciously and subtly — in context to their behemoth — and bumbling — neighbors to the west seen through the prism of the Knicks as much as their own.
Newsday's Barbara Barker, in a 10/23/19 column headlined Fortunes of the Knicks and Nets have dramatically changed over the past year, summed it up: "So what the heck happened? Because it’s difficult to imagine the Knicks having had a worse 12 months or the Nets having had a better."

A new feel at the arena? Sure, but not purely "organic"

After that first game, Billy Reinhardt, writing for NetsDaily, suggested that the atmosphere at the Barclays Center had shifted:
A beautiful structure, built for basketball, yet much like the Billy King Nets, something about the vibe inside the arena felt forced, even unnatural. Chants were forced onto fans, war cries didn’t stick. The feel in the arena resembled the team on the floor, inorganic and passionless.
His conclusion:
For the first time since arriving in Brooklyn in 2012, the Nets feel organic. The vibe around the team and in the arena feels fresh, unique, and finally not forced.
It’s a new era for the Nets and the vibe finally feels... Brooklyn.
Hey, I wasn't there, and I'm sure the noise and enthusiasm was greater than before. It's just hard to think of a team, however savvily assembled, as "organic," when the turnover of personnel is continuous. But fans like winners, that's for sure.

As to organic, one fan cited the appearance by Irving, and his family, at the near-Barclays watering hole McMahon's after a game.
Some of those with longer memories might remember how McMahon's a faux Irish pub, replaced a locally beloved dive called O'Connor's. It was supposed to keep the name, and the brand, but it didn't.

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